Natural History Illustration 101 Offered by the University of Newcastle, Australia
The University of Newcastle offers a nature illustration course once or twice each year. The first year the course came out, I took it alongside our teenager.
We really loved it!
The course covers botanical illustration, but goes so much deeper than just showing you how the teacher draws objects. Instead, you are encouraged to draw the object as you see it! Also, you’ll learn about how nature illustrators (like Adolphe Millot) help scientists. An artist will sometimes notice things that are missed in photographs or not noticed by simply viewing an animal.
The free natural history illustration course begins February 21, 2023. The free course is called Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101. It comes to us online, from the University of Newcastle in Australia.
What is in this Natural History Illustration Course
Here is the course schedule:
- Week 1: Introduction to the course
- Week 2: Observational Drawing
- Week 3: Field sketching and recording techniques
- Week 4: The structure of flowers and leaves
- Week 5: The structure of mammals and birds
- Week 6: Rendering (creating finished artworks)
Here is the official introductory video:
What Materials are Needed?
You will need the following materials:
- A good quality A3 sketchpad with hard, smooth paper
- A hard surface to rest your paper on (either a desk, table or drawing board)
- Scrap paper or paper towel to rest your hand on
- A selection of graphite (lead) pencils of varying hardness, ranging from 4B to 2H. These can either be traditional wood-cased pencils or mechanical pencils
- A kneadable eraser and a hard plastic eraser
- A feather or a soft brush to dispose of eraser rubbings
- A few coloured pencils or a small selection of watercolour paints and a small paintbrush (optional)
- Although not essential it is very helpful to have a desk lamp so that your paper and subject are lit well and consistently
Is there a schedule or may I take it at my leisure?
The course begins February 21, 2023, and for the next 6 weeks, the professors will be available to look at the homework. The discussion board will also be open, for students to communicate.
The course will go on for 6 weeks, and the time needed (“effort”) is 3-6 hours per week. You will work on the course at your leisure; there is no set schedule.
When the course is officially completed, you’ll still have access to the course, but will no longer have the ability to turn in homework, receive professor feedback, or participate in the class discussion board.
How to Enroll and Participate in Natural History Illustration 101
The Natural History Illustration 101 course begins February 21, 2023. There’s still plenty of time to register, but do it soon so you’ll be ready!
Once registered, you’ll be able to access the course after it is completed, but will not have the instructor’s input anymore.
You will not receive college credit for taking the free course, but you can purchase a “verified certificate” from EdX. I don’t know anything about what that really means, but you’ll see the option when you sign up.